It’s a sad state of affairs when many churches are more concerned about programs and trying to be like and attract the world than being faithful to the Lord of the Word and the Word of the Lord. They see growth in numbers (and love to tout those numbers) but the truth is that they are in great danger of simply herding goats. It was Charles Spurgeon who was quoted saying, “A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats.” How true is that of so many churches that are so much like the world that it’s impossible to tell them apart from it.
I’ve been reading through a wonderful book on the Sermon on the Mount by the late Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. (One of the finest expositors of the Scriptures.) In his book, the following statement caught my attention and is so true of the state of the church today. We would do well to heed these words:
The Church of God for many a day has been trying to mix certain incompatibles. If it is a spiritual society, then we cannot mix the world with it in any shape or form. It does not matter what the form is. ‘The world’ does not mean gross sin only; it means things which are quite legitimate in and of themselves. It is this constant compromising in the life of the Church that has been her ruination ever since the days of Constantine. Once you have lost the division between world and the Church, the Church ceases to be truly Christian. But, thank God, there have been revivals, there have been people who have seen this truth and who have refused to compromise. It is the only hope for the Church. We have been trying to sustain her by worldly methods, and it is not surprising that she is as she is. And she will continue to be like this as ling as we continue to attempt the impossible. It is only when we come to realize that we are God’s people, and a spiritual people, and that we live in the realm of the spirit, that we shall be blessed and shall begin to see a revival. We can introduce our worldly methods, and we may appear to be having success, but the Church will not improve. No! the Church is spiritual, and her spiritual life must be nurtured and sustained in a purely spiritual manner.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, (Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1976), pg. 373
Soli Deo Gloria!